When it came time to head down for a nap after lunch, T let me know that he really preferred not to. He had handfuls of dinosaurs and kept slowly walking away from me as I tried to get him to say "night-night" to his dinosaurs and go to bed. He'd just stare at me blankly slowly taking steps backward. I don't believe in chasing down 3-year-olds, so I just kept eye contact, letting him know I wasn't giving up.
So I thought, "How can I make this a more concrete idea for T?" So I said that the dinosaurs needed naps too, and here, why don't we put blankets out for them? So I grabbed a place-mat, folded it in half and asked T to put his dinosaurs to bed. The idea seemed to interest him, and he stopped creeping away backwards.
I also don't believe in begging 3-year-olds to do anything, so after asking him twice to come put his dinosaurs to bed, I then told him to put his dinosaurs to bed, which he then did:
All but one dinosaur, at least. He kept his favorite one in his hand, looking at me sideways to see what I was gonna do about it. I asked him, "What about the big one in your hand?" T asnwered, "He's my favorite. He doesn't need a nap."
At this point, all it took was my offering Big-Favorite Dinosaur his own bed to get the job done: T then happily walked downstairs to his bed and blanket. As I was walking out of the room, he said, "What about pillows? My dinosaurs don't have pillows." Some clean, unfolded laundry was there on the couch, so I grabbed my favorite socks and said, "I think these will do. Big Dinosaur will get his own." T nodded, turned on his side, and fell asleep.
Everyone wins, especially the dinosaurs who have probably never felt so snug.